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Council on Environmental Quality
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Conserving America’s Wetlands 2007:
Three Years of Progress
Implementing the President’s Goal

Appendix C.
Department of Agriculture

Table C-1. USDA Programs Supporting the President's Wetlands Goal in FY 2006. Funding (millions of dollars)


Program Restore or Create Improve Protect Total Wetlands Funding for Goal FY 2008 Difference from FY 2007
Conservation Reserve Program 13.660 5.970 0.000 19.630 3.060
Conservation Technical Assistance Program 2.000 24.950 0.000 26.950 0.000
NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program 0.010 0.001 0.000 0.011 0.000
Farm and Ranchlands Protection Program 0.000 0.000 3.000 3.000 0.000
Grasslands Reserve Program 0.000 0.000 3.700 3.700 0.000
Wetlands Reserve Program 124.800 12.100 318.100 455.000 191.410
Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program 1.025 0.310 0.000 1.335 0.000
Total   141.495 324.800 43.331 509.626 194.470

USDA Programs Supporting the President’s Wetlands Goal

Farm Service Agency (FSA)
Conservation Reserve Program: This program was originally authorized in 1985 and then re-authorized through 2007. It establishes permanent vegetative cover on eligible acreage of environmentally sensitive farmlands (including cropped and prior converted wetlands) through long-term rental agreements. Currently, 2.4 million wetland acres, including upland buffers, have been restored and are being maintained under 10- to 15-year contracts with annual rental payments of $126 million. The 2002 Farm Bill authorized that, at any one time, up to 39.2 million acres may be enrolled in this program during 2002 through 2007, an increase from 36.4 million acres authorized to be enrolled through 2002.

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
Conservation Technical Assistance (CTA) Program: In FY 2006, CTA helped landowners protect water quality on 13,634,478 acres; improve fish and wildlife habitat quality on 4,138,481 acres; and create, restore, or enhance 65,300 acres of wetlands.

Table C-2. USDA Programs Supporting the President's Wetlands Goal in FY 2008.
Planned Accomplishments (in acres)


Program Restore or Create Improve Protect Total Wetlands FY 2008 Difference from FY 2007
Conservation Reserve Program 30,400 4,300 0 34,700 -7,700
Conservation Technical Assistance Program 2,000 49,300 0 51,300 0
NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program 4,000 300 0 4,300 0
Farm and Ranchlands Protection Program 0 0 2,400 2,400 0
Grasslands Reserve Program 0 0 7,800 7,800 0
Wetlands Reserve Program 171,500 13,900 89,600 275,000 7,450
Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program 6,972 739 0 7,711 0
Total   214,872 68,539 99,800 383,211 -250


Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP): As a voluntary conservation program, EQIP promotes agricultural production and environmental quality as compatible national goals. Through EQIP, farmers and ranchers may receive financial and technical help to install and maintain conservation practices that enhance soil, water, and related natural resources, including wetlands. The program has restored 33,347 acres of wetlands, and an additional 147,056 acres have been enhanced or improved since the program was established in 1996. The 2002 Farm Bill authorized $400 million for FY 2002, $700 million for FY 2003, $1 billion for FY 2004, $1.2 billion for both FY 2005 and FY 2006, and $1.3 billion for FY 2007.

Farm and Ranchlands Protection Program: This program provides matching funds to help purchase development rights to keep productive farm and ranchland in agricultural uses for protecting topsoil by limiting conversion to nonagricultural uses of land.

Grasslands Reserve Program: This voluntary program offers landowners the opportunity to protect, restore, and enhance grasslands on their property. The program will conserve vulnerable grasslands from conversion to cropland or other uses and conserve valuable grasslands by helping maintain viable ranching operations. The program is jointly administered by NRCS and FSA (NRCS has lead responsibility on technical issues and easement administration, and FSA has lead responsibility for rental agreement administration and financial activities). In FY 2006, program staff processed 812 new applications totaling 970,628 acres valued at approximately $581,070,482. Of these totals, farmers and ranchers protected 1,500 acres of wetlands using common management practices to maintain the viability of the conserved grassland.

Wetlands Reserve Program ( WRP): WRP is a voluntary program that assists landowners with restoring and protecting wetlands through conservation easements and cost-share agreements. Since 1992, 1,893,672 wetland and associated upland acres have been enrolled in the program. The 2002 Farm Bill requires, to the maximum extent practicable, an additional 250,000 acres to be enrolled in the program each year, for a total program enrollment of 2,275,000 acres by the end of 2007. Total program enrollment at the end of FY 2006 neared 1.9 million wetland acres and associated upland acres.

Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program ( WHIP): WHIP is a voluntary program that provides technical and financial assistance to enable eligible participants to develop upland wildlife, wetland wildlife, threatened, and endangered species, fish, and other types of wildlife habitat in an environmentally beneficial and cost-effective manner. The purpose of the program is to create high-quality wildlife habitats that support wildlife populations of local, state, and national significance. In FY 2005 through 2007, approximately 11,000 acres of wetlands will have been protected, restored, developed, or enhanced under WHIP.

USDA Programs that Maintain the Wetlands Base

NRCS programs help private landowners apply needed conservation techniques on their land. When private landowners landowners use these programs to restore, protect, and improve wetlands on their property, they serve as stewards of our environment. Other cooperative conservation efforts include:

Plant Materials Program: Focuses on development of plants and technology to help conserve natural resources including wetland plants. There are currently 27 Plant Materials Centers (PMC) located across the country. Each Center develops vegetative solutions to natural resource problems and issues. In the wetlands arena, PMCs have selected plants for restoration work as well as for nutrient filtering in constructed wetlands. The PMCs also develop the technology to successfully propagate, establish, and manage plant materials in wetland settings. In FY 2006, PMCs were working on over 250 studies to further the scientific understanding of wetland vegetation. This included updating technology to protect and restore coastal marshes (especially along the gulf areas), restore or enhance wetlands, protect shorelines of wetlands, and enhance wetlands for wildlife uses. Several PMCs are finishing a large costreimbursable contract with the USACE to grow plants for a coastal wetland on Long Island, New York.

National Resources Inventory (NRI): NRCS conducts the National Resources Inventory (NRI) in cooperation with Iowa State University’s Center for Survey Statistics and Methodology. The NRI is a scientifically based longitudinal (statistical) survey of the Nation’s natural resources that provides information on status and trends of land use and soil, water, and related resources for the Nation’s non-Federal land. The NRI is unique in that it provides nationally consistent statistical data that are explicitly linked to the NRCS Soil Interpretations database and that support analysis of resource trends on rural and developed land over all regions of the United States since 1982. The NRI shows that between 1997 and 2003 there was an estimated net gain of 263,000 acres of wetlands due to agricultural activities— an average annual increase of 44,000 acres.

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